Our Solar Energy Bank Goes Bust

Early Retirement
Any guess which panels are producing lots of energy and which panels aren’t producing much at all?

Our solar energy bank finally went bust in January.

Since we didn’t have solar panels installed until last June, we knew our first winter with solar energy would likely be our most expensive. We missed out on several months of strong sunlight last spring that would have allowed us to build up more solar energy credits heading into the winter.

We tapped into the credits we built up last summer to keep our electric bills at minimal levels in November and December, but we finally drew our balance down to zero last month. Short and dark days, and lots of ice and snow, kept our panels from producing much electricity from late December through late January. Our solar energy production for the past month was less than 10% of what we produced in August.

The end result was the largest electric bill we’ve received since we had our solar panels installed.

The good news is our January bill still declined by nearly 77% from last year.

Home Solar

The bad news is now that our bank of solar energy credits is down to zero, our bills in February and March are likely to be larger than they will be next year at this time, when we’ll hopefully still have credits in the bank from a full-year solar cycle.

Fortunately, the days are beginning to get longer, and our power generation over the past few weeks has definitely started trending in the right direction.

Near term, however, the impact on our wallet is likely to be negative. We’re expecting another big storm today, which will probably leave our solar panels under several inches of snow and ice for the next few days.

All in all, we’re still pleased with our decision to install solar panels. They definitely have been an asset as we try to reduce expenses on our path towards financial independence – over the seven months since we went solar, our total electric bill has fallen by almost 89%!

Our savings will trend a bit lower over the next couple of months, since we have run out of credits and aren’t likely to produce enough energy to offset our usage. But I’m confident we’ll begin building up a large bank of credits for next winter in April and May, when the days get longer but the weather is still cool enough that there’s never any temptation to run the air conditioning.

How has the weather been for you this winter, and what impact has it had on your heating and electric bills?


  • Mr. 39 Months

    February 7, 2018

    Sorry to hear about it, but it is interesting reading – all your articles on solar. Certainly something we are thinking about as well. Hope the sun shines down on you!

    • ROMT

      February 7, 2018

      Thanks Mr. 39! The solar panels are now under several inches of fresh new snow, with several more yet to come, so production is headed to zero for the next couple days! Good luck if you decide to go solar, it is definitely a multi-faceted decision.


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